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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, May 30, 2016

private jim kensill, 1865

On Memorial Day, as we appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces, here at The Pet Museum we think with love of those other soldiers who served.  Here's a selection from the (happy!) story of Civil War serviceman Jim Kensill who "by occupation" was a rat terrier.
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Our own regiment possessed a pet of great value and high esteem in Little Jim, of whom some incidental mention has already been made. As Little Jim enlisted with the regiment, and was honorably mustered out of the service with it at the close of the war, after three years of as faithful service as so little a creature as he could render the flag of his country, some brief account of him here may not be out of place.
Little Jim, then, was a small rat terrier, of fine blooded stock, his immediate maternal ancestor having won a silver collar in a celebrated rat pit in Philadelphia. Late in 1859, while yet a pup, he was given by a sailor friend to John C. Kensill, with whom he was mustered into the United States service “for three years, or during the war,” on Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa., late in August, 1862. Around his neck was a silver collar with the inscription, “ Jim Kensill, Co. F, 150th P. V.”
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We learn of Little Jim's bravery in the face of hardship and camp life, and then this good soldier gets his reward:
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His master having been honorably discharged before the close of the war because of wounds, Jim was left with the regiment in care of Wiggins, the wagoner. When the regiment was mustered out of service at the end of the war, Little Jim was mustered out too. He stood up in rank with the boys and wagged his tail for joy that peace had come and that we were all going home. I understand that his discharge papers were regularly made out, the same as those of the men, and that they read somewhat as follows: —
To ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN; Know ye that Jim Kensill, Private, Company F, 150th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was enrolled on the twentysecond day of August, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-two, to serve three years, or during the war, is hereby DISCHARGED from the service of the United States, this twenty-third day of June, 1865, at Elmira, New York, by direction of the Secretary of War.
(No objection to his being reenlisted is known to exist.)
Said Jim Kensill was born in Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, is six years of age, six inches high, dark complexion, black eyes, black and tan hair, and by occupation, when enrolled, a Rat Terrier. Given at Elmira New York, this twenty~third day of June, 1865. JAMES R. REID, Capt. Tenth U. S. Infantry, A. C. M.
Before parting with him, the boys bought him a silver collar, which they had suitably inscribed with his name, regiment, and the principal engagements in which he had participated. This collar, which he had honorably earned in the service of his country in war, he proudly wore in peace to the day of his death.

 - Harry M. Kieffer, in The Children's Hour: The Out-of-Door Book, Eva March Tappan, ed. (Houghton,Mifflin & Co., 1907), 25-30.

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